Kentaro Minoura: 今戸焼 (Primordial Void, 2020)

July 28, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Kentaro Minoura: 今戸焼

Kentaro Minoura seems to be far more prolific as a visual artist than a musician; he’s had dozens of exhibitions of his work since 2006, and has published several books. His fourth album mainly consists of heavy rhythmic studies, with the first track focusing entirely on craggy drum machine tones, then the next few venturing into distorted lo-fi techno. After the grinding, festering dystopia of “言問橋”, “吾妻橋” is pure panic-zone acid terror, calling like an alarm from inside a reactor. Then “イチカワヤ” is a glorious 13-minute wooze-fest that absolutely bumps, getting grander and more smeared by the minute. The last three tracks are much shorter (the bristling “駒形橋” is only 13 seconds), and the ending feels like an energy-depleted lament compared to the danger-filled antics of the earlier ones. Really unique, uncommon sounds and inventive beat design here.

Show #540 – 7/26/20

July 26, 2020 at 10:58 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Birthday quarantine robot radio edition of The Answer Is In The Beat In Exile!
The Answer Is In The Beat In Exile 7/26/20
The Sugarcubes ~ Birthday
Lorenzo Senni ~ Wasting Time Writing Lorenzo Senni Songs
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers ~ Lester Left Town
Nathan Fake ~ Stepping Stone
People Like Us ~ Meddle Mix 7
Prolaps ~ Channel Massive
Bogdan Raczynski ~ Average Banger
Gábor Lázár ~ Effort
Korea Town Acid ~ Body Clock
Escaflowne ~ My Mind
Maxx Mann ~ Stolen Moments
Matt Karmil ~ Congo

Evicshen: Hair Birth (American Dreams, 2020)

July 21, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Evicshen: Hair Birth

I’m only reviewing a digital promo of this, but the now sold-out special edition included a speaker cover, in the form of a coil which plays when connected to an amplifier and placed in front of a magnet. (A few of the covers are still available, but without an amp). The artist, Victoria Shen, used to work for Jessica Rylan’s Flower Electronics, and she created the LP by recording Buchla 100 and Serge modular synths at Harvard, then editing the recordings together. The results are crafted like academic electronic compositions, but sound as visceral as a junky basement noise session. “Under the Stall Door” is 8 minutes of righteous thrashing which occasionally erupts into high-pitched screeing feedback, then plunges back into low rumbling and quaking or harsh crushing. “Funhouse Mirror Stage” scrambles glitchy modular tones and dissolves them in molten lava, while “Lissjous” seems to imply a brittle, trampled-over rhythm. “Fever Pitch” is fizzier, and even closer to a stammering, frenzied rhythm. The whole album just sounds so LIVE, even though it’s the result of countless hours of studio sessions, and I hope I get the opportunity to see this artist perform someday.

Matthewdavid’s Mindflight: Care Tracts (Leaving Records, 2020)

July 20, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Matthewdavid’s Mindflight: Care Tracts

Returning to his healing music project, Leaving Records founder Matthewdavid produces three 10-minute pieces designed to bring purely positive energy. Adorned with two cute dolphins on the cover and sounding just as friendly, the album spirals in an unhurried flow, shimmering like a vast, peaceful pool that cleanses and keeps you calmly afloat. Curiously, though, the pieces end with the tape drastically being slowed down or sped up, putting a definite stop to periods of relaxation which could seemingly on perpetually. All three tracts serve different purposes and have different characteristics. “Tract of Hidden Animalia” is awash with synthetic chirps and flutters, while “Tract of Gentle Healing” is almost aggressively rejuvenating, and “Tract of Bell & Flute Magic” is a playful acoustic incantation set atop a briskly flowing stream.

Show #539 – 7/19/20

July 19, 2020 at 11:09 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

This is the first edition of The Answer Is In The Beat In Exile. I’m pre-recording hour-long shows on my laptop, and they’re going to be broadcast Sundays at 10PM.

The Answer Is In The Beat In Exile 7/19/20
His Name Is Alive ~ Last Thing Thought Of
Barker ~ Positive Valence
Suzi Analogue ~ PPL PWR
DJ FLP feat. Joon ~ Save File
Ahya Simone ~ Frostbite
Kesswa ~ To Find
Special Request ~ I Wish Time Didn’t Matter
AceMo ~ Passion
Keleketla! ~ Future Toyi Toyi
J-Shadow ~ Acid Genie
Speaker Music feat. AceMo ~ Techno Is A Liberation Technology
Ratgrave ~ Instant Toothpaste
Auscultation ~ Flottant
Nailah Hunter ~ White Flower Dark Hill

G.S. Sultan: music for a living water (Orange Milk, 2020)

July 19, 2020 at 11:40 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

G.S. Sultan: music for a living water

Roy Werner writes custom Max/MSP software and makes semi-generative compositions which flow between digital and organic textures. Opening with rushing water and fluttering bird wings, music for a living water weaves melty vocals, which sometimes sound like they’re being manipulated on a turntable, with vibraphone-like melodies and subtle glitches and buzzes. It’s too _together_ to merely sound like an audio collage, but it still has an easy, surreal drift to it. It’s definitely more easygoing and pleasant than some of the more future-shocked Orange Milk releases, but there’s also moments that tip into the realm of the absurd, like when several layers of vocals of various pitches collate into a heavy, quavering blanket mass during “nx nox”. The last 2 tracks are weird co-minglings of new age choral R&B, wrapping several shades of vocals around a ticking music box flow.

v/a: Music For Your Mind Vol​.​1 (Lobster Theremin, 2020)

July 18, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Music For Your Mind Vol​.​1

I think this is the last of the benefit comps I downloaded recently. This one’s from Lobster Theremin, and all profits are donated to Black Minds Matter. Haven’t delved too much into this label and its extended family, at least as of late, and the only artists I’m familiar with here are Borai, Denham Audio, and Tim Reaper, all of whom are some of the absolute finest producers making rave and jungle today. The first two collide rave elements with harder, garage-y beats, and Reaper’s is a slow burning but ecstatic jungle track filled with intricate breaks and contemplative synths. Route 8 & TRP’s “This Way” is another highlight, making a complex beat pattern go down smoothly. Mani Festo’s “The Fate of Us All” similarly resembles a sort of danceable IDM with a heartbreaking melody and poignant sample. Much more playful is the bloopy, choppy garage of Checan’s “BLAES”. Artists like L.O.T.S. and Slim Steve provide breaky beats and chill house atmospheres, while Night Foundation’s “Breathless” is an unsettling nocturnal tremor. Snow Bone’s “DYNA” is excellent futuristic rave overkill, and Zeno Amsel’s “Pertinent Negative” is hotwired electro-techno madness. Music for your mind, for sure, but only because we aren’t allowed back in clubs yet.

v/a: Hot Steel (трип, 2020)

July 17, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Hot Steel

Nina Kraviz’s трип (Trip Recordings) released this compilation on Juneteenth, donating all of its sales to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The album stemmed from a live stream which took place in May, in which artists submitted unreleased material, of any genre. The favorite tracks were signed, and issued on this album. Detroit’s First Lady, K-HAND, starts it off with “Aquatics”, a dramatic piece which sounds like the opening scene of a seabound thriller, filled with rushing tidal water and cyclical strings. There’s no telling where the release is going to head from there. LUCKER’s “Headache vs. Corona” is a tense jumble of fuzz-saturated breaks and early ’90s house stabs, managing to dance its way out of the muddle. Locked Groove dives into deep trance territory with “Intergalactic Surfer”, setting airy arpeggios and measured strings atop cruising beats. Hieroglyphic Being works his industrial house magic with the gorgeous keys, blown-out beats, and booming vocals of “Side 2 Side (Black Hands Version)”. Gesloten Cirkel demolishes the fourth wall (and maybe some of the ceiling) on “Fairness”, starting off with a snarky observer mocking the track he’s been working on, then adopting a scary Darth Vader-type voice and proclaiming “This is the best song ever made! If you can’t hear that, there’s something wrong with you!” before launching into some unruly techno pulverizing. Just as humorous, but in a much cuter, friendlier way, is Crush Converters’ Spanish-language, pogo-worthy synth-pop ode to Nina herself. Sebastian Lopez aka Flug and Voyager Solar System provide more deep-space transmissions (with Voyager’s being a bit fuzzier and trippier), while Baxter’s two-minute “Galore” begins as solemn ambient techno and ends up hyper-detailed, frizzy IDM. “Kreatur” by m.o.d.u.l. machine is a 94-second blitzkrieg of head-bashing hardcore with a vulnerable, pitched-up voice in the center. Nina’s own “x3” is a 9-minute odyssey of bouncy beats, vocoder samples, and antsy-trancey synths. This comp hasn’t received as much attention as other recent benefit releases (probably because of the ongoing backlash against Nina), but it’s certainly worth checking out, as it’s a quality selection of creativity from around the world.

v/a: Physically Sick 3 (Discwoman/Allergy Season, 2020)

July 16, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Physically Sick 3

At this point, Discwoman and Allergy Season’s Physically Sick compilation series is an institution within the underground club music world. They all feature exclusive tracks by dozens of artists shaping the scene, and they’re all vital reactions to the state of the world, while giving back to those in need. Proceeds from the newly released third volume go to Equality For Flatbush, which has been fighting racist police abuse and gentrification since 2013, and has been supplying Brooklyn residents with groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the other volumes of the series, the tracks here provide a good mixture of innovation as well as nods to the legacy of club culture, which can be especially poignant now since clubbing is quickly turning into a distant memory and none of us know when or if we’ll ever be able to do it again. Kicking the compilation off is a track by Anz (a recent breakout star thanks to her absurdly good Invitation 2 Dance EP and a new 84-minute mix of original productions) which uses the deathless vocal from C’hantal’s “The Realm” (although it seems to still be a mystery who exactly the vocalist is and whatever happened to her). Also in familiar sample flipping mode, the mighty AceMo takes the sample best known from Lil Wayne’s “I Feel Like Dying” (originally from the 2003 song “Once” by Karma-Ann Swanepoel) and turns it into a darkside rave nightmare straight out of the mid-’90s. More playful are tracks like SHYBOI’s cheeky banger “Eat That” and MoMA Ready’s intricate, sorta post-dubstep (remember that?) “Portal Step”. Providing diversions from club rhythms are a few experimental tracks, including a typically soul-searing noise piece by Dreamcrusher, an abrasive fuzz convulsion from SYANIDE, and a glowing levitation from KMRU. CCL and AYA both elevate the pace from trippy moonwalk electro to something closer to drum’n’bass, and Savile also uses the more atmospheric end of d’n’b as a launch pad for a brighter future. Robert Aiki Aubrey Lower applies his modular synth wizardry to pulsating, forest-vibes techno. BEARCAT’s “SHRILL” is a skeletal alien dancehall riddim which sounds like it was made from the drum sounds of a Casio-grade keyboard, yet it bangs harder than a lot of high-definition electronics. Special Request’s “Wallabies” goes as hard as any of his recent club detonators, no surprise there. Olive T’s “What Comes After” is perhaps the most overtly political track here, with a monologue sample asking how this revolution is going to be sustained, over lush beats and electrifying guitars. DJ SWISHA (who mastered the comp) provides some paranoid sci-fi juke. Korea Town Acid’s “Body Clock” is one of the comp’s most pleasant surprises, building some twisted elastic rhythms and playful samples, and then setting it all into a chiptune-jungle frenzy. After a serious but hopeful midtempo track from Surgeon, DJ Python smooths everything out, although this is closer to his house side than the deep reggaeton he’s become known for.

v/a: Unbroken Dreams of Light (Blueberry Records, 2020)

July 14, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Unbroken Dreams of Light

FaltyDL’s Blueberry Records presents a meaty compilation featuring a mixture of legends and newbies, keeping with the label’s ethos since it was launched seven years ago. Like FaltyDL’s own music, there’s no one style that’s focused on, it’s all just creative, original electronic music, whether it be for the dancefloor or more reflective purposes. His own “Ruby Rod” is a gentle, citrus-tinged whirlpool of cyclical tones and breakbeats, sounding like jungle and lush but dense post-dubstep all at once. From the “gets” corner, there’s a slightly sinister acid collab between Todd Osborn and Luke Vibert, some absolutely killer oldskool rave pressure from Horsepower Productions, broken beat from Cousin Cockroach (Dego of 4Hero), and a woozy downtempo gem from µ-Ziq. Besides the big names, there’s some eye-openers from within Blueberry’s own stable. XGLARE follows up her crazily underrated record from 2 years ago with some complex avant-club head-trickery. Dasychira’s “Deadnettle” is profound and cartoonish at the same time, and Bénédicte’s “Softillusion” is similarly comforting yet spiked with pangs of ecstatic jubilation. Lastly, Tenant’s “New Life” is a fizzy, funky slice of skittering drum programming and acid frippery — ridiculously tight, actually.

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